Katie Burns received a grant from EndoFound in 2017 for $25,000 over two years. She used that as seed money to develop data to apply for larger grants to study how the environmental toxicant phthalate, a chemical found in plastics and personal care products, may affect the development of endometriosis.
This year, Burns will be on the other side of the grant process for EndoFound, serving as one of the organization’s application reviewers.
“The smaller amounts of money for research, even though huge to a foundation like EndoFound, really help young and newer investigators to develop their own research programs,” said Burns, an associate professor and the division director of Environmental Genetics & Molecular Toxicology at the University of Cincinnati. “I am so honored that EndoFound reached out to me for help with this.”
EndoFound awarded several grants in 2017, 2018, and 2019 before pausing due to Covid-19. They will restart the program this year by awarding $250,000 to five applicants ($50,000 over two years to each one). The grant will cover direct costs related to research, with indirect costs limited to 10 percent of the overall budget each year. Grant recipients must provide reports to EndoFound after each of the two years.
The deadline to apply was Dec. 1, and a record 61 applications were received.
“I wish we had more than five awards given how many applied, but I’m happy that we are able to do this much,” said Dr. Dan Martin, scientific and medical director for EndoFound and chair of the foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board.
The Scientific Advisory Board consists of 27 members from around the world, all of them medical doctors, PhDs., or both. They will break into six groups, each reviewing a set number of applications. The 10 best applications from all 61 will move to the next round and be reviewed by the entire board. The board will announce the winners at its annual meeting on March 3 and 4, 2024.
“Some of the ones we’ve received are from R01 grant recipients [those with mature research projects that have strong preliminary data], and some are from clinicians who’ve never done a study in their life,” Dr. Martin said.
What the applicants plan to do with the money if they win runs the gamut.
“We have some high-level ones, including one that wants to look at Schwann cells in relation to endometriosis, and another that wants to look at the relationship between adenomyosis and endometriosis with regard to the new diagnostic biomarkers,” Dr. Martin said. “We also have one that wants to research mental health support for individuals experiencing chronic pelvic pain, another that focuses on nutrition, and yet another that studies cannabinoids for treating pain.”
The board members will all have the same goal when reviewing submissions.
“We’re looking for those who are doing research that will potentially lead us to new diagnostic methods, treatment methods, and anything else that will improve the lives of those with endometriosis,” Dr. Martin said.
Burns is excited to dive into the applications. She is not just a researcher and grant recipient—she is an endometriosis patient who has had several surgeries while suffering from pelvic pain and other symptoms for years.
“My interaction with EndoFound began with applying for the first grant, and since then, they’ve invited me to attend the Blossom Ball, be on the board, and even attend a meeting at Georgetown this year to be part of a presentation,” Burns said. “It’s just wonderful to be included and respected like that.”
To learn more about past grant recipients and to donate to research, visit www.endofound.org/research-grants.